I’ve been thinking about the traveling exhibition Soul of a Nation and the artists, particularly the abstract painters from this era and how they approached their work during the tumultuous societal and economic shifts that took place between the 1960s and 1970s in New York. One common thread among many of the artists in the Black Arts … Continue reading Artist a Day: William T. Williams
Barbara Jones-Hogu was one of the 5 founding members of South Chicago’s AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). The collective came together in 1968 to identify and cultivate a cohesive artistic voice around Black art that speaks to aesthetics, and more importantly to the viewer’s experience as Black Americans. Jones-Hogu’s contributions to AfriCOBRA … Continue reading Artist a Day: Barbara Jones-Hogu
As a WPA muralist in the 1930s Hale Woodruff was commissioned to create a series of murals for Talladega College in Alabama. His rich, vivid paintings depict historical events from African Americans’ journey from slavery to freedom. It’s easy to see the affinity he shared with artists like Diego Rivera whom Woodruff spent time with … Continue reading Artist a Day: Hale Woodruff
Charles Alston’s extensive artistic career revolved around painting, sculpture, and murals where he created work that beautifully went in unpredictable directions. That was deliberate, and it’s what makes his work and career so fascinating. In a 1968 interview, Alston critiques, quite presciently, the art world’s tendency to place artists in familiar, predictable boxes: “[O]ne of … Continue reading Artist a Day: Charles Alston
When learning about the work of Emma Amos, I read an interview where she recounted an interesting story about Romare Bearden and Spiral. They were planning their first group show, which was simply titled “works in black and white”, and during one of their weekly meetings Bearden threw a bunch of black and white clippings … Continue reading Artist a Day: Romare Bearden
In the summer of 1963 a group of Black artists in New York came together to form a collective to address the precarious state of creating art amidst societal upheaval caused by politics, racism, and social unrest. Led by Romare Bearden, Spiral was formed to tackle these philosophical issues, and its initial members included Hale Woodruff, Norman … Continue reading Artist a Day: Emma Amos
One of the last shows I attended in 2018 was the Fowler Museum’s Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths. Of the 200+ works on display which included tools, totems, weapons, jewelry, and adornments, the most interesting items told stories of people who commissioned blacksmiths to create pieces that told their life story. Other works … Continue reading With Gratitude, So Long 2018!